Stakeholders gathered in the Grove on a sizzling Tuesday morning to break ground on Boise's latest ambitious downtown project, the City Center Plaza.
"Always put the speakers in the sun and the listeners in the shade," joked Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.
The event was meant to showcase the plaza as a model of cooperation between business and government in urban development.
"We need more public-private partnerships like this," said Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Richard Krochalis.
Idaho Sen. Jim Risch described such partnerships as fundamentally American, as opposed to business or government "going it alone."
"This is emblematic of the way things are done in America," he said. "This is one of the most fiscally responsible states in America."
Previously, Valley Regional Transit had plans to build a multi-modal transit center—now part of the plans for the City Center Plaza—near the Idaho Statehouse, but the Department of Lands blocked that outcome, which paved the way for the plaza.
"I'm thankful for Kem and Gardner Company for getting me off the hook," said Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
Some stakeholders in the project, notably Valley Regional Transit and the Greater Boise Auditorium District, said that they, as well as the city, have much to gain from the new facility.
"The notion persisted that Boise could be a destination for conventions. This project is sure to draw more than a few 'Eureka!' moments," said GBAD Chair Jim Walker.
"It seemed like the location was a sticking point, but the multi-modal transit center will serve as a gateway for downtown commuters and tourists," said David Zaremba of Valley Regional Transit.
The $45 million, 370,000-square-foot plaza will include office space for Clearwater Analytics, two floors totaling 50,000 square feet of classrooms and laboratories for Boise State University computer science students, and commercial spaces for shops and restaurants. The attached multi-modal transit center will be approximately 55,000 square feet and house eight of the city's 12 bus stages. Its total project cost is estimated to be $11.9 million.
It is estimated to be complete by the third quarter of 2016.